Canada chooses change

Canadians have decided to hand the reins of power over to Justin Trudeau, the first time Canada has had a prime minister who is so intimately familiar with the official residence at 24 Sussex Drive, having lived there as a child.

We already knew that there would be a new Minister of Industry as a result of yesterday’s election – James Moore decided not to seek re-election. It was less certain that the new cabinet would be formed by a Liberal Prime Minister – Prime Minister Trudeau 2.0 – and it wasn’t until the initial results emerged from Atlantic Canada that we were sure that Canada voted so emphatically for a change.

We will learn in the coming weeks who will fill the seat to lead Industry Canada – the department responsible for the development of policy for telecommunications and information technology and services – and as a result, most digital economy issues.

As Scotiabank indicated in a note to investors late last week: “While the Liberal Party does want to see greater competition and lower prices, we believe its approach would be very different from that of a Conservative majority.” The research note said that anything but a Conservative majority was expected to lead to “fewer regulatory disruptions than in the last few years”, since

The Conservative government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Industry Minister James Moore had a pro-consumer, populist approach to the telecom sector and appeared to put less emphasis on the impact of their policy decisions on jobs and network investment.

A Liberal majority could be a fresh and positive change for the incumbents.

The last Parliament was characterized by a lack of balance, a failure to appropriately give consideration for long term structural impact of populist policy, in part because the partisanship of Parliamentary Committees gave little (if any) consideration to Opposition amendments to bills. That is assuming the legislation even reached Committee, thanks to tactics such as burying legislative changes within Budget Implementation bills and other omnibus bills.

Canadians voted for change and the message was loud and clear. Hopefully, the Liberal strategists who will shape the operation of the PMO – the Prime Minister’s Office – have been listening, learning to develop a more cooperative and humble approach to the institutions of Parliament.

Over the past few months, I have indicated what I would like to see on Canada’s digital agenda.

There is now an opportunity to build on the post-election optimism, as Prime Minister Trudeau forms his government.

Thank you to all the candidates from every political stripe across this land who put forward their names and worked so hard over the past few months.

Congratulations to the new Parliament. And congratulations to Prime Minister Trudeau. Welcome back to 24 Sussex.

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